September 8, 2014
This show is really something quite special.
The first set starts off with a lively Stranger which follows with a stupendous West LA..maybe the best one they ever played.
Jerry teases at Cumberland before they launch into Me & My Uncle then comes a barn burning version.
Far from Me is Brent at his best and this version is unique as it is played at a slower tempo.
He as well as the rest of the band are at top of their game. Phil as mentioned in earlier reviews steals the show.
Jerry breaks out TLEO and has a couple vocal missteps but it is a welcomed return version. The set closing trifica of Cassidy, which is subtle, piercing and expansive, followed by a full out Jerry hoot of Tennessee Jed and then a rocking Promised top off this top level first set.
Set two begins with poetic sweet Jerry noodling which lets the devoted know full well that they are in for a excellent second set.
They jump into a slower tempo version of Eyes, this one may not start off as strong as other versions from this year but blossoms into a note worthy one.
The LL Rain is a perfect as the band really gets romantic on it and passionate, deeply passioante.
Jerry follows with a text book perfect reading of Crazy Fingers in which his stellar vocals shine.
They launch into a upbeat and intense PITB which transitions into a majestic UJB that concludes with a great PITB reprise.
The drums space is typical of this era and is quite enjoyable. You get a moving Wheel which then explodes into a firestorm performance of Miracle, which of coarse Phil steals the show on, and then they drop into what else?
You guessed it with Jerry being in the driver's seat, its gotta be Morning Dew and it is a monumental version of this classic.
Brent explodes on the B3 and Phil continues to raise the ante with it all coming together in a glorious peak which Jerry just devastates the entire Auzten Stadium audience with.
It is very rare that they end a second with this song but this night they did. I believe the last time they had do such was in the fall of 1984.
The only blemish, if you can even call it that, is that Phil does not sing one song the entire afternoon...maybe Box of Rain could have been the encore instead?
The Hog Farmers had to just wait until the next night for that call.
Saturday night rocks out and leaves us wanting more.
Once you listen to this show it will, rightly so, make its way on to your favorite shows of all time list.
Happy Trails kids.
March 28, 2011
Best Phil Set ever?
This concert is the definition of a "Phil Show". Phil plays lead from start to finish - setting the pace for perhaps the best concert of 1990, except maybe the amazing April 1 show at Atlanta's OMNI.
Han more than does justice to flawed SBD and AUD sources; rendering this massive ensemble show in near pristine quality.
More bass than you can believe!
From "West LA" on, the Band is in perfect sync, with voices clear and on key.
NO slurred or skipped words! Only two very minor musical mistakes that I could [barely] catch. Complete lyrics on all songs, in correct order.
Can't wait to get "in the mood" and listen to this, but my sober evaluation follows:
"They Love Each Other" IMHO is the best rendition ever.
Would say the same of Cassidy, except for the severe flaw near the end.
In "Playin' in the Band", Bobby plays slashy, tight chorded leads with Phil as Jerry leads the band out onto a long, think limb of fusion - a limb big enough to accommodate a dance right into Uncle John's Band. Phil and the rhythm section continues to lead as the harmonies return. Bobby's licks are getting louder and better all the time, and again, Phil is joining in on the singing! The timing is simply perfect - everyone on the same page - totally, very rare. Of course, after a long road stand everyone is going to have practised their way into a groove, but something about this show is different. Everyone is really rested sounding and seems to feel extra good. No fatigue, the focus is so damn crisp. As Jerry said once, "When we have a bad night it's OK, and on a good night it's just amazing".
The harmonies in "Uncle John's Band" are better than on the original studio album. The second Jerry solo is monumental; despite the Soundboard dropout near the end. Han covers this admirably, considering the thin quality of the AUD source. Mercifully, this serious SBD flaw is very brief.
Bill and Mickey's "Drums" is unusually aggressive with a yipping dogs/hyenas effect that really fits for some reason. They continue to use this effect, entering "Space" after only a minute or so - with the audience responding individually, and then the bells, chimes, and gongs begin. I hate this term, but it fits here, OMFG... For those who may have become too sedate, this section resurrects all but the literally dead, into the "proper" state of mind. If you don't have great speakers, or live near others, you may want to turn the volume down when this section starts... If you do have great speakers, and some space, turn it UP!
Cannot comment coherently on "Space". You will understand. If this was your first "long strange trip" then I pity you, at least until the end of "Space". But you gotta learn sometime... Brent and Jerry border on sardonic here, with all the help Mickey can provide. The bells and chimes are dimensional. Brent plays with Beethoven's 9th as Jerry does a jazz dance into "The Wheel", and back to reality. All initiates get to come home, with a lesson to take with them. Jerry and Brent sing a duet, backed by Bobby and Phil. Perfect timing, no slop. Singular.
"The Wheel" melts into Bobby's "Miracle", again, a Phil caused speaker warning, simply excellent. Bobby's voice is just pristine all night at this show. Phil really gets front and center on this one. New girlfriend? Something - Phil is just astounding in this show. If you want to study Phil's style, this is the show for you! Phil's exuberance is, IMHO, the key to this show's exceptional energy and tightness. In miracle, Phil plays note for note with Jerry and Bobby steps up and does the same. Bobby's "back lead" on this is as good as Jerry's lead. It sounds like the Allman Brothers as times with three leads trading off.
Finally to end the continuous set, the timeless hymn of the Dead, "Morning Dew". Words cannot describe this rendition, only ears and hearts. Jerry does ALL the lyrics, IN ORDER, PERFECTLY, and beautifully. The power of this piece cannot be overstated. The Band peaks totally, led by Phil. This is a Phil show.
This may be the best Morning Dew ever. I realise what I say here... I've been a Deadhead since 1968 and seen over 300 concerts... IMHO, this IS the best one ever, in terms of power, precision, beauty, and tightness.
Yes, I am one of those who believe The Grateful Dead hit a "second peak" in 1990, after the awesome 1977 season. But this is a different peak, a wise peak, a powerfully mellow peak. The beautiful pinnacle IMHO.
This was an amazing night of all the amazing nights. Hansokolow succeeds in eliminating almost all of the considerable shortcomings in both sources. The result is just wonderful. Thanks Han!
Despite the flaws, and considering the outstanding QUALITY of the performance by ALL band members on this night, I vote 5 stars.